Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Testimony: Monk shook down racetrack exec so Blagojevich would sign bill

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Reporting with Lark Turner

In Lon Monk's afternoon testimony, prosecutors worked to crystallize one of the charges against Rod Blagojevich: that he was shaking down a racetrack executive for campaign money.

Monk said he met with Blagojevich in his campaign office where the two engaged in a dress rehearsal of shaking down harness racetrack owner Johnny Johnston. Prosecutors contend Blagojevich was putting off signing a bill to benefit Johnston's two racetracks as he awaited Johnston to kick into his campaign fund.

Prosecutor Christopher Niewoehner: "Did you decide to help the defendant get his contribution in exchange for no longer delaying signing the bill?"
"Yes," Monk said.
"Did you go meet with Johnston to go make that happen?"
"Yes," said Monk.

Niewoehner punctuated those two questions, largely to emphasize to jurors that Monk and Blagojevich did more than just talk about the alleged scheme. Under Blagojevich's directive, Monk drove to the Melrose Park track and asked Johnston to make the contribution.

Minutes after leaving Johnston, Monk is back on the phone with Blagojevich. He's heard relaying what happened in their meeting.
"My point is, it's all got to be in, now," Monk tells Blagojevich that he said to Johnston.

Monk and Blagojevich later spoke again about staying on Johnston for a contribution.

"From a pressure point of view," Monk says on tape, Blagojevich should personally call Johnston.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 17, 2011 4:11 PM.

Testimony: Tony Rezko gave Blagojevich ex-chief of staff $70k under the table was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich lawyer hammers witness for pocketing Tony Rezko cash is the next entry in this blog.

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